On the last day of summer conditioning and workout drills for the members of the Ohio State football team, a number of Buckeyes gave a hand to a group of individuals with special needs who were part of a two-hour skills and fun camp at the Woody Hayes Athletic Center.
Outside of school and classes, the players are now off until Thursday, Aug. 1, the day they have to be back on campus for the start of fall camp drills on the morning of Aug. 2. Many didn’t want to leave the Woody on Thursday until after they had stopped by to assist at the Special Skills Football Invitational, which was being held on campus for the seventh time.
“This is my favorite day of the year. It’s even better than Christmas,” said Steve Weaver, director of the Special Skills Sports Camps. “I’m extremely happy Coach Day chose to continue this event because it means a lot to the athletes. This day changes the perception of our athletes. They come out and do all of the same drills that the football players do. They flip tires, tackle the blocking pads, run with parachutes. This is a tremendous day to get everyone together where there are no barriers of any kind.”
A handful of Buckeyes took part in the camp, including senior Jordan Fuller, junior Baron Browning, junior Drew Chrisman, sophomore Jeremy Ruckert and freshman Roen McCullough.
“You absolutely cannot beat this camp. Everyone out here has such a big heart,” said Ruckert. “It’s been a long summer. Coach Marotti has us running and doing lots of drills every day so this was a good way to end it, keep our spirits up and get ready for camp. It was just great to get your mind off football for a little bit.”
In all, about 200 athletes from 15 area counties and 100 volunteers enjoyed the pleasant July sunshine. Every drill that the Buckeyes did this summer was replicated on Thursday. The athletes ran cone drills, hit the blocking sleds, tackled the pads, ran speed tests and even took part in a scrimmage. Members of the band were on hand to welcome the group and virtually everyone left with a smile on their face.